Healing Is Complicated
I’m going to be honest with you, there is no easy path to healing. Whether you are healing from burnout, trauma, physical illness, emotional abuse, food sensitivities, or anything else, the path back to health can be complicated. Yes, miracles do exist, but for most of us there is no magic bullet when it comes to healing. There is no detailed map,10-step program, medication, workshop, book, physician, therapist, or anything else that is guaranteed to get you where you want to go.
If there were, I’d be the first in line for it.
I’ve tried many, many things on my healing journey and I can honestly say that most of it helped to some extent, but nothing was THE solution for me. I had to do a lot of different work to get to where I am now. I always had this negative mindset that “nothing works” and was frustrated when I had to go “back to the drawing board” and start again. It was a little naïve of me to expect that one program or practitioner could fix it all, but I would guess that pretty much anyone reading this has been conditioned to expect the same. The modern world loves simplistic, reductionist “solutions” to our “problems.” That’s how people and groups sell things. It’s easy and it's marketable.
These reductionist systems often look at one single aspect of who you are and claim that all healing comes through working just on that.
Medical science says we are just our bodies.
Psychology says we are just the result of all our past experiences.
Religion says we are just our spiritual beliefs.
The “good vibe” culture says we are just how we choose to feel.
Science says we are just a collection of atoms reacting according to evolutionary patterns.
Politics says we are just our race, gender, sexual identity, and socio-economic status.
Education says we are just our ability to achieve on measures of academic progress.
New age thought says we are just energy interacting within a holographic universe.
The fact is, we are all these things.
We are emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, energetic, and evolutionary beings constantly learning and growing through our experiences, interactions, and beliefs.
Which makes us VERY COMPLICATED.
That means that finding healing will require work on many of these levels. So you may see a medical doctor and an energy worker on alternate weeks. You may work with a psychotherapist who doesn’t belong to your religion while also getting help from someone within your religious community. You might read about both brain science and esoteric metaphysical topics. You might get physical therapy and practice meditation on the same day. Mixing and matching various practices will address the needs of your whole, complicated body.
Fortunately, some institutions that have traditionally focused on one aspect of our being are starting to break out and embrace more comprehensive viewpoints. You do see hospitals offering Reiki and emotional counseling to patients. The new field of energy psychology is embracing the interaction between energy work, body therapy, and psychology. Educational institutions are becoming more trauma informed. It is very exciting to see these interactions happening and know there is hope for a future that tries to address our needs more holistically.
But for those of us who grew up with more fragmented worldviews, what are we to do?
First, know that healing will take place on these different levels. So if you’ve read this far, you can check that one off.
Second, you need to believe that you can heal. Modern medicine has taught us that our bodies and brains are machines that break down easily and can only be repaired by professionals. This is so far from the truth it’s actually kind of funny. Your body is an intelligent organism that is created to heal itself. It knows exactly what is going on all the time, it works every day to compensate for problems, and it can heal a remarkable number of things as long as it has all the resources it needs. I hash this out more here: All Healing is Self Healing.
Third, understand that your healing will not be the same as anyone else on this planet. What works for your sister may not work for you. What your best friend needs is not exactly what you need. Everyone’s journey will look different.
Fourth, believe that your body and mind knows what it needs to heal. It probably isn’t a conscious understanding at this point (or you would be doing it already), but the information is locked up in your subconscious mind and in your body. If you can learn how to pull that information out, you have a custom-made road map to healing. Now, don’t assume that it means it will be easy, but it will get you where you need to go and give you what you need along the way. I explain this more here here: Self Healing With Energy Work
Once you have these four beliefs in place, then the next step is to learn to trust what your body is telling you. The one thing I tell my clients most often is TRUST YOURSELF. We are so often taught to trust outside authorities such as religious leaders, scientific researchers, political figures, thought leaders, academics, etc. These people all have valid perspectives and their opinions should be thoughtfully considered. The problem I see is when we default to accepting their thoughts and opinions over and above our own. If we see a conflict between what we are told and what we feel is true in our own bodies, we are taught to ignore our own wisdom and trust the authority. The answers are supposed to come from somewhere outside of us from whoever we have placed our trust in.
You might think that our current culture of defying health recommendations from medical professionals and government recommendations are a sign that people are able to think for themselves and don’t just follow authoritative rules. That is not what is going on. That situation is actually caused by people who are largely (not totally) selecting to follow a different external authority. So instead of following the authority of the dominant medical and government establishment they are simply following others with different political and ideological opinions. My guess is that most of them are just as unable to tap into their own body’s wisdom and trust themselves as the people following the mainstream leaders. It’s not free thinking as much as alternate following.
So with that out of the way, let’s talk about an example of this that is gaining a lot of attention these days. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about the devastating effects of purity culture over the past 30 years. Purity culture comes largely out of American evangelical Christianity, although it can be seen in other parts of the world and in American culture at large. It is essentially the teaching of the strict rules of heterosexual purity. Linda Kay Klein’s book Pure interviews many women about how purity culture has affected their lives (it also affects men in different ways, this book just happens to focus on women). What her book showed so clearly was the numbing effects on women as they were taught, implicitly and explicitly, to ignore their own wisdom and trust the negative messages they were being fed. What the author doesn’t connect, but I definitely saw, were many women with debilitating physical ailments that I’m sure were largely caused by this denial of their own selves. If you want to read more about Linda Kay Klein’s work, here is as an excellent interview that summarizes it better than I can: Author Linda Kay Klein on the Lasting Impact of the Purity Movement - Rebellious Magazine
A system such as purity culture doesn’t just influence someone on a physical level but also deeply involves emotional, mental, spiritual, and energetic levels as well. The more I read about the effects of growing up in this system I see that men and women are often deeply disconnected from their own bodies and emotions. They have grown up not knowing how to tap into their own body’s wisdom or how to trust it. By following others who work with people who have experienced this kind of disconnect (such as Jamie Lee Finch), it is clear that healing begins with getting back in touch with the body and learning to trust their own internal compass.
In a similar vein, the book the Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. talks about the devastating effects of trauma. He started as a therapist to veterans and searched diligently for therapies that would help those he worked with. Over the course of his career, through his own work and other research, he discovered that trauma is not just a mental problem, but is also physical, emotional, and energetic. Healing requires releasing energy from the body and processing the past events on all those levels. Although he doesn’t use this language, it is clear that the author understands that the path to healing lies within each person’s body and the therapist’s job is to help them interpret what their body is telling them.
So how does this work out in real life?
Well, when people come to me, I don’t assume that I can “fix” them. I tell them that they know what they need, even if they can’t articulate it yet. I will simply help guide them and give them resources they need to heal themselves. I then spend time working with them in energy sessions (where I am working directly with their energy body) and talking to them in coaching sessions. Over time we learn to listen to what their bodies and minds have to say and use that input to decide what to work on next. I suggest techniques and practices to start to connect them to their bodies again and let their subconscious minds bring up what they need to know. Many clients leave me with ideas of what to work on and then come back having done things a little differently, or added their own ideas. I love it when this happens, because it almost always means that they are listening to their own intuition and letting their inner wisdom guide the process.
Many people I work with also see medical professionals, acupuncturists, naturopaths, therapists, and more. As long as they feel that those professionals are contributing to their health, then I encourage this. Professionals have a lot of expertise to help you on your way but no single one has all the answers. Each client can benefit from a variety of inputs in different ways. Working on various levels of being at the same time is probably the best way to go as all the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, parts of the client are completely intertwined.
So everything I do is very customized to each individual person. There is no 10-step program I can give all my clients to find healing. They are the only ones who really know what they need. I just help them learn how to listen to themselves and give them the support they need to follow through. Is this easy or fast? Usually not. If you want to really heal and find your best life, you have to take into account all your levels of being and work on the complicated relationships between them. It takes time, diligence, patience, and commitment. The end result, though, is someone who knows and trusts themselves. Who has a better understanding of who they really are, not what society has told them to be. Who believes they have what they need to heal, to succeed, to live their best life.
You may be wondering if you will ever get to a place where you feel “healed?” Well, yes and no. There are some things in my life that I have fully healed. I wrote a blog post on how I healed my food sensitivities. That’s one of the big things that set me on my healing journey in the first place. There are other things that, despite years of work, still bother me, such as the warts on my arm that I can’t seem to get rid of and terrible eye floaters my eye doctor says will never go away. I have come to see healing as a process rather than a destination. I’ve come so far from where I started fifteen years ago. I have some things I’d like to continue to work on. But overall, I’m really grateful for where I am now and what I’m able to do (like eat cheesecake!).
Everyone’s goals are different. Everyone’s endgame is individual. Pick what you want to resolve in your life and go for it. Just know that you’ll likely have to work on mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and energetic levels if you want to make lasting progress. It’s all intertwined and you are the only one who really knows how to find that healing. If you have no idea how to access that, then work on getting back in touch with your body first. I have tons of resources on my blog (including the links above). If you visit my on Pinterest page I am gathering ideas from other professionals and writers who work around these issues. You can always contact me so we can talk about your goals and what you want. Even if I don’t have what you need, I’m happy to point you in the right direction.
So get started today! Take back the power of healing into your own hands and begin your own journey!